The iPhone SE 2020 is a bargain of a phone, and one you'll want to keep safe with one of the best iPhone SE cases. For just $399, Apple's budget handset has the company's industry-leading A13 Bionic processor — the very same CPU inside the iPhone 11 Pro — as well as wireless charging, water resistance and a 12-megapixel rear camera that benefits from all of Cupertino's imaging tricks, like Smart HDR.
That makes it worth protecting. And this being a new iPhone, there are no shortage of case options from accessory makers everywhere. Whether you're in the market for a cheap TPU case, an exquisite leather option or something super slim to preserve your new iPhone's slender proportions, our list of the best iPhone SE cases will have something for you.
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What are the best iPhone SE 2020 cases?
There's no single best iPhone SE case, simply because each user is going to be looking for something different. That said, some cases rise to the forefront as good all-around options for most people.
Smartish's Kung Fu Grip, Tech 21's Impact Clear and Speck's Presidio Pro are great choices for users who don't need the most luxurious or flashiest case around, yet value drop protection and grip very highly. They all look pretty sharp, too.
Those looking for something fancier, with the first-party fit-and-finish that only Apple can provide, should wisely go for the company's own leather case. It's gorgeous, and comes in a selection of hues that perfectly match the colors Apple's chosen for the iPhone SE. Moment's Thin Case also looks especially sharp, and has the bonus of supporting the company's lenses.
If you're more practically inclined, or looking for something rugged, we recommend Spigen's Slim Armor CS wallet case, as well as OtterBox's Defender Pro. The first has space for two credit cards, while the latter offers complete protection in every sense, from a built-in screen shield to doors for the phone's Lightning port.
Fans of extremely slim cases who are more mindful of scratches than drops should check out Spigen's Thin Fit and Totalee's Thin Case. And finally, if you're interested in a case that's kind to the environment, Incipio's Organicore is a 100% compostable solution that sacrifices nothing in terms of premium build quality.
Oh, and one more thing: Because the iPhone SE shares the exact same dimensions of the iPhone 8 (and the iPhone 7 before that), you can use the same old cases that fit those devices on Apple's latest budget iPhone. In fact, many case makers are merely reselling their old models with a new label as a result of this. Still, this is great news for customers, because it means you can save some cash by opting for an older iPhone case that's already been discounted after sitting on the shelves for a few years.
The best iPhone SE 2020 cases right now
Apple offers two cases for the iPhone SE: A silicone case, which costs $35, and the leather option you see here, which costs $10 more. Apple's silicone cases always look nice when you get them, though they're also prone to wearing down very fast, with the soft-touch outer layer becoming gradually stickier over time before chipping off in frequently-touched areas. That was my experience when I had the same case for my iPhone 7 a few years back, and a cursory browsing of Reddit demonstrates I'm not alone.
For that reason, we'd much rather recommend Apple's leather case, which is more durable than the silicone version, and looks and feels better, too. For the iPhone SE, the official leather case comes in Black, Midnight Blue and Red, with aluminum-accented buttons over the volume and power keys color matched to the leather, and an embossed Apple logo on the back that looks super classy. And at $45, it's actually reasonably priced as far as leather cases go, making this one of the best iPhone SE cases for a mix of style and substance.
Once known as the Silk Base Grip, this case from Smartish has long been a personal favorite. I have a Kung Fu Grip on my iPhone 11 Pro, and I love it. The texture of the sides feels super grippy, ensuring fewer drops; the buttons are very clickable; and the overall fit and finish is of a very high quality, which is impressive considering this case costs just $12.
It's sturdy, too. Air pocket corners ensure that if your iPhone SE does take a tumble, it'll have the best chance of surviving. And while it's not the most slender case in the world, it doesn't add as much heft as some bulkier options on this list — making it a good middle ground for users who want the peace of mind of protection, but not at the expense of design and pocketability. We just wish Smartish offered it in more colors.
This one may seem like cheating, but iPhone 8 cases do indeed fit the iPhone SE, because both models share exactly the same dimensions. That means we can revisit one of our popular selections for the iPhone 8 — Tech21's Pure Clear — which grants 6.6 feet of drop protection to Apple's handsets for almost no added bulk beyond a no-frills TPU case.
Tech21's design sense really shines on the Pure Clear, which melds translucent air pocket-lined sides with a totally transparent back, for a very sleek and minimalist look. That plastic back can be susceptible to scratches, mind you, but you're unlikely to notice them unless you look closely. The Pure Clear costs $30, which isn't the cheapest out there, though Tech21's cases tend to be pretty high quality — making this one of the more affordable options the company offers.
Speck has long been a trusted purveyor of solid yet fun-looking cases, and the company's latest Presidio Pro line is no different. The Presidio Pro is on the thicker side in terms of cases on this list, but that thickness contributes to an impressive 10 feet of drop protection — ensuring your iPhone SE will be safe, snug and secure should your handset take a tumble and land on its corners or back.
The Presidio Pro has also been treated with an anti-microbial finish, which is certainly relevant in this era of diligent hand-washing and social distancing. It comes in four rather subdued colors, with tasteful two-tone accents as you've come to expect from Speck — though you'll pay a bit of a premium for that attention to detail.
Earlier this year, Incipio introduced its Organicore line of 100% compostable cases derived from plants. It wasn't the first accessory make to produce such a case, with Pela having made a name for itself delivering a similar pitch. However, it is the best we've found.
Incipio's Organicore line feels sturdy, with a pleasing texture to the touch that is soft, but not slippery or greasy. We also love the colors Incipio has settled upon, especially Deep Pine Green and Oatmeal Beige, which are speckled with neutral tones to convey a very fashionable earthy aesthetic. On the flip side, you will have to spend a lot for that kindness to the environment; at $40, the Organicore iPhone SE case costs just $5 less than Apple's leather case.
A good wallet case is hard to come by, but Spigen has struck a nice balance with its Slim Armor CS case. This is basically Spigen's Liquid Air case, but a bit thicker with a hard plastic shell and compartment for up to two credit cards. If you haven't fully turned to Apple Pay yet, or perhaps if you have and only need to carry your ID, the Slim Armor CS is a good solution.
Spigen's cases always fit well, with precise cutouts, clicky buttons and the company's trademark Air Cushion corners that are designed to absorb drops, despite adding minimal heft to the device. Normally costing $35, this is one of the pricier options Spigen offers — though Amazon has it for just $18 at the time of this writing, making for a good deal on one of the most useful iPhone SE cases out there.
If you want the last word in durability for your iPhone SE, look no further than OtterBox's popular Defender Pro. This case is truly as rugged as they come, with a dual-layer design that combines a rubber insert with a very thick polycarbonate outer shell, as well as a built-in screen protector, a cover for the Lightning port and fully-concealed buttons. It's even been coated in a material that repels germs.
Of course, you will pay a fair bit for all this protection — $45, to be precise. But OtterBox's Defender series is among the most protective of cases you can buy for any phone, and if you're in a line of work where you're concerned about keeping your investment safe, this is one of the best iPhone SE cases you can buy.
Moment is a company that produces a line of camera lenses for popular smartphones, including Apple's iPhones. They also sell cases that allow you to quickly clip on or remove such lenses, which is handy. But truthfully, even if you don't see yourself using a Moment lens — or, perhaps, not yet — their cases are gorgeous in their own right.
Moment's Thin Case designed for the new iPhone SE may not have the same partial wood design as some cases the company offers for Apple's other flagships, but it's still a looker, thanks to a pattern of diagonally-etched lines across most of the backside. The only downside to this case is that it is a bit expensive, though we suppose that's the peace of mind you pay for so that your pricey camera lens doesn't fall off your new iPhone and shatter the perfect photo op.
Those who know cheap yet well-made cases know Spigen very well. Spigen prides itself on offering excellent-feeling cases that typically cost a fraction of the price of what some other accessory makers charge, and its Thin Fit case for iPhone SE is a fine example of that.
The Thin Fit is a very simple hard plastic case, that leaves the iPhone SE's buttons, top and bottom exposed. Because it's more of a shell than a soft cushion it's not likely to protect your iPhone much in the case of a drop. But some users prefer just having a very minimal protective layer wrapping around their handset to protect it from dings, scratches and scrapes, and the Thin Fit works well for that purpose. It's also very affordable, and like all Spigen products, regularly gets discounted on Amazon.
If it's the absolute thinnest case you want, look no further than Totallee. This is a company renowned for offering the most slender cases around, at just 0.3 millimeters thick. That might seem too thin to actually be useful, yet Totallee's fans are typically looking for surface-layer protection alone, to keep their phone safe against scratches without sacrificing Apple's industrial design. This case achieves that.
Totallee's Thin Case comes in three colors: Frosted Clear, Frosted Black and Transparent. The last of the three is a bit thicker, at 0.5 millimeters, and has a glossier, more traditional TPU finish. So long as you're less concerned about drop protection, and can spare the rather steep $35 price tag — which seems like a lot for a little, we'll admit — this could be the minimalist iPhone SE case you've been looking for.